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Product & Engineering

New Universal Prompt Raises the Bar for Fast, Easy Multi-Factor Authentication

One challenge for IT departments across organizations has remained the same for decades: “How do we balance security and productivity while allowing our employees access to corporate resources?”

Due to cloud adoption, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and remote work, this challenge has only increased in complexity. IT departments strive to provide employees the best possible access experience to boost productivity. At the same time, security professionals want to ensure that sufficient access security controls are in place to safeguard corporate data. 

To maintain security while minimizing user friction, IT administrators should consider three key factors: 

  1. Making authentication more intuitive and accessible for all users
  2. Reducing the number of times users need to authenticate based on trust signals
  3. Decreasing the time and effort it takes for users to enroll and authenticate

Duo’s multi-factor authentication has the reputation of being as easy to use as it is effective. But in the world of technology, change is the only constant. New web frameworks and evolving UX standards have created room for improvement. And Duo is marching ahead with its mission to democratize security by making it easy and effective for organizations of all sizes to secure workforce access. 

A Radically Simple New Look and Feel

The new Universal Prompt radically simplifies the authentication experience by displaying a modern and clean UI. The prompt minimizes user friction when performing multi-factor authentication. To facilitate a faster, easier and smoother secure authentication, the new UI displays only the most relevant and imperative information to users. Along with the new authentication prompt, we’ve improved the user enrollment experience, creating a more intuitive new self-service portal experience.

“80% of users say the new authentication experience with Universal Prompt is faster and easier.” —Duo UX Research Team

And that’s not all — accompanying this new prompt experience is the new Duo mobile app to enhance end-to-end authentication workflows. Check out what’s new in the redesigned mobile app.

Duo’s new authentication with the Universal Prompt is currently available as public preview for all paying customers. We currently have more than 2,200 customers who have enabled the new prompt experience and processed more than 6.5 million authentications in the last month alone.

Then and now: Duo Universal Prompt at a glance

Why Upgrade to the New Authentication Experience?

Streamlined Authentication

Consider the number of times a user has to interact with a security tool such as MFA. This security becomes an annoyance and impedes productivity as the frequency of user interaction increases. Yes we are aware of “MFA Fatigue.” Now, imagine if you could perform a strong authentication that's resilient against phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks with minimal user interaction, once a day and you can get on with your work? 

That’s the experience the Universal Prompt delivers. The prompt now remembers the last used authentication method, and if the authentication method used was Duo Push the prompt then automatically sends a push notification to the user's registered device. These enhancements reduce the number of actions needed to perform multi-factor authentication and users can verify their identity in one seamless workflow.

Informed by Modern Protocols

WebAuthn, a FIDO2 standard, has emerged as the new benchmark for modern strong authentication. Duo already supports WebAuthn as an authentication method for browser-based applications. With the new MFA prompt, Duo extends that support to a wider variety of browsers and even thick client applications that support modern authentication.  

In addition, OIDC has been gaining popularity as an open standard, decentralized authentication protocol. We’ve introduced new WebSDK (v4) and authentication APIs that add support for the OIDC authentication standard that developers love. Adopting the OIDC standard for application integration enhances the overall security of MFA deployments.

Driven by Inclusivity

With a strong focus on human-centered design principles, Duo Universal Prompt delivers an inclusive authentication experience that minimizes friction for all users. The Universal Prompt is easy to read, with big action buttons and the ability to be controlled by voice or other assistive technologies. The prompt respects user settings (moving images, animations) and provides an improved color contrast. Through these features, Duo helps organizations comply with accessibility requirements by meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 standards at the AA level. Learn more about Duo’s commitment to accessibility.

Security Your Way

Organizations today have global workforces. The IT departments for these organizations need to ensure that employees get a consistent authentication experience among all regional language needs and accessibility requirements.

Universal Prompt also enables global organizations to deliver an on-brand experience for user authentication by allowing IT administrators to incorporate elements such as company logos, primary color, and custom background and customizable text into the prompt. This not only adds a layer of user-centric approach to security by allowing users to authenticate with greater confidence but also makes it easier to spot phishing attempts that lack consistency with the company’s visual brand. The prompt also allows organizations to localize in regional languages.

“As we onboard 50+ SaaS applications, we’re finding the Universal Prompt simplifies authentication options, while providing a consistent user experience across all SSO enabled applications. The screen pop notifying users to check their phone for push notification is helpful. The refreshed prompt is easy to follow, especially when users use multiple devices for secondary authentication.” —Kevin Rice, Senior Enterprise Architect, Kearney

So what are you waiting for? Browse the Universal Prompt Playbook to see how you can enable the new experience for your users now.